The British government is set to introduce proposals on Wednesday (07) aimed at strengthening procurement laws to safeguard sensitive sectors on national security grounds.
As part of these measures, a dedicated unit will be established to investigate suppliers and new powers will be created to prohibit certain suppliers from securing contracts.
In response to evolving circumstances, Britain has been conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the involvement of companies connected to foreign countries in critical infrastructure and supply chains.
The proposed changes to procurement laws will be presented by the government during the parliamentary debate on the Procurement Bill scheduled next week.
As part of the revised proposals, the government will establish a dedicated National Security Unit for Procurement to conduct thorough investigations into suppliers and determine their eligibility for participation in public procurement processes.
In addition, new powers will be introduced to prohibit suppliers from sectors associated with national security and defense.
However, these measures will be balanced by allowing them to still participate in procurements within non-sensitive areas, enabling a nuanced approach to supplier engagement.
The updated plans aim to strike a delicate balance between national security concerns and ensuring fair competition in non-sensitive sectors.
“These new measures will protect our sensitive sectors from companies which could threaten national security and are a firm deterrence to hostile actors who wish to do Britain harm,” junior Cabinet Office minister Jeremy Quin said in a statement.
The proposed amendments to the procurement laws will require approval from both houses of parliament in order to be enacted as law.
Back in 2020, the British government announced its decision to ban Huawei from participating in the country’s 5G network.
Furthermore, utilising newly enacted legislation, the government compelled Nexperia, a Chinese-owned technology company, to divest itself of Britain’s largest microchip factory. This action was taken following a comprehensive national security assessment.